Salt Grill

Thank you all so much for the warm welcome back to the blogosphere.  You are all so kind!

I just have to tell you more about the cruise.

When I was on the cruise ship I was working long hours but not so long that I couldn’t enjoy some time at Salt Grill.  Salt Grill is one of Luke Mangan‘s restaurants that has been opened on three of the P&O ships.

Salt Grill on board Pacific Grill

Salt Grill on board Pacific Dawn

Luke is one of Australia’s celebrity chefs with The Palace in Melbourne, Glass in Sydney and Salt in Singapore and Tokyo and others besides.

A touch of blue

A touch of blue

The space on the Pacific Dawn that is now Salt used to be a pizza place.  It has been totally refurbished and is now a sophisticated room with dark polished floors, billowing curtains, a great wine list and a touch of blue glass.  All meals on board the P&O ships is included in the tariff however at Salt a $40 cost per person is charged with drinks being an additional fare.  This may seem expensive (compared with ‘free’) but given the quality and in comparison with Glass in Sydney or Palace in Melbourne, it’s a bargain.

Product placement at the entrance

Product placement at the entrance

The tables are fixed to the floor so that in huge swells they remain in position.  Although paramount for safety this does make the restaurant fairly inflexible when it comes to bookings as we were a party of 12 and they couldn’t join two tables together so we had to sit at two separate tables but they were close together.

Luke's sparkling mineral water

Luke’s sparkling mineral water

I sat next to Matt who is from Melbourne and very much enjoys his wines, particularly full-bodied reds and so he really appreciated the extensive list of quality Australian reds.  He ordered the Penfolds 389 from 2000 and something-or-other, said he’d pay for it and asked if I would like to share it.  I just smiled and nudged my glass towards him.

Wine to enjoy when at sea

Wine to enjoy when at sea

And there was a lot of ceremony regarding the wine because it was brought to Matt for his approval, then decanted, then offered to taste, then finally poured into beautiful long-stemmed glasses.

Freshly baked bread in several varieties was brought out and served with Luke Mangan olive oil and balsamic vinegar and dukkah.

Product Placement

Product Placement

What you do notice upon entering the restaurant and then throughout the dining experience is that product placement isn’t subtle.  It’s blatant.  You are in no doubt as to whose restaurant this is and the centre page of the menu is dedicated to the merchandise you can buy including cookbooks, aprons, oils and vinegars.

For an entree I had the char-grilled quail with zucchini, currants, pinenuts and basil.  It was one of the loveliest entrees I have ever had and went beautifully with the wine.  (Actually everything went well with the wine).

Quail on a 'Luke' plate

Quail on a ‘Luke’ plate

The mains are predominantly steak or fish and after making your choice you select the sauce you’d like to have with your meal.  I chose the eye fillet with bearnaise sauce and the steak was beautifully cooked but it was beyond well-rested as the heat had left it and it was cold to eat.

Eye-fillet of beef

Eye-fillet of beef

Pear, Rocket and Blue Cheese Salad

Pear, Rocket and Blue Cheese Salad

Parmesan Truffle Fries go so well with eye fillet steak and Penfolds 389

Parmesan Truffle Fries go so well with eye fillet steak and Penfolds 389

Desserts are famous in this restaurant and I did want to try the licorice parfait but my wine-drinking friend selfishly didn’t order it because he wanted the chocolate tasting plate and I had already chosen the floating island so I can’t tell you anything about that most well-known dessert.  Next time!

Chocolate plate with a toasted pink marshmallow

Chocolate plate with a toasted pink marshmallow

Floating Island

Floating Island

The six of us ordered a dessert each and then realised no one had ordered the cheese platter so we ordered that as well as a centre piece.  It arrives as a bit of theatre with a trolley being rolled up to you and the platter being plated in front of you.

Preparing the cheese platter

Preparing the cheese platter

We were fortunate that night in that the sea was extremely calm and the boat barely rocked making for a very pleasant evening in stunning surrounds.  For $40/head it did seem very good value and the menu was modern and innovative, the setting stylish, the service attentive without being intrusive and I would happily eat there again – if only to make sure I tried the licorice parfait.

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  1. Made me hungry 🙂 seems so delicious. Thank you dear Charlie, love, nia

  2. Don’t you just love the way they plate their food … oh, how I wish I was on-board another sailing feast.

  3. I have no experience dining on food presented in such an artful manner. It all looks so lovely. But even lovely cannot make up for cold steak.

  4. What a lovely evening you must have had, Charlie; it’s a shame about the steak — I wondered why you wouldn’t have sent it back? That was very generous of your table companion to offer you the wine. We went on a cruise for our honeymoon, from NYC to Bermuda on large ship of the time (HMS Atlantic, if I recall correctly). It held 2500 guests with 1500 employees which was a great ratio at the time. But this ship was nothing in comparison to the luxury liners of today (two pools and one main dining room with set dining times). The travel agent suggested that we book a table of 10 instead of 4 which was the smallest options; the logic was that in eight people, we’ll find at least someone we can get along with. Unfortunately our table turned out to be a group of friends who have known each other for their entire lives (they were of retirement age) so we were the odd one’s out. Our last night, JT suggested we order a bottle of wine for the table (this was also before the time the ships figured out how they can rip you off for a bottle). The bottle was $11 and the table fought about how we would pay for it, so we just offered to pay for the entire thing. I was glad it was our last night. The food wasn’t nearly as lovely as the food on your cruise. We have several friends who thoroughly enjoy cruising and have asked us to join them on several occasions, but we still hesitate — I abhor having to wait in queue, particularly when the cruise is so expensive.

  5. I have not had a good experience on any cruise. Usually it had to do with the company or the placement of the room in the bowels of the ship. What I do remember was that food was plentiful and usually good. It is quite a shame your steak had cooled. Good thing you had that wine. It sounds like you got quite a lot for the $40 extra.

  6. The Parmesan fries are what caught my eye. Those look yummy.

  7. The food looks great! But I agree with Eva, why didn’t you send your steak back? I mean, if they are going to charge you for the food, you should at least get it hot. Those fries caught my eye too, my weakness and those desserts…yum.

    I am glad you had a good time on your cruise, looks like it was loads of fun.


  8. Oh, how I love a cruise! The meal sounds wonderful, other than the steak. Wish I had been there. I would have ordered the licorice parfait and shared with you.

  9. That sounds very much like classy dining my friend 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  10. I can just imagine you there Charlie. It all sounds like such fun. I wondered how salt worked on those Cruises….now I know. x

  11. That has to be the biggest floating Island I’ve ever seen. Not sure I would have chosen the liquorice plate but the desserts looked amazing. I love it when the cheese is served at the table, so much more personal. GG

  12. I would have loved the licorice parfait too- but I would have sent my steak back!

  13. I love coming over to check out your restaurant posts as they’re always exquisite. A shame about the steak but I think you mentioned on Eva’s blog that you were in an awkward situation. I’m curious what was on the salad plate under the arugula … walnuts? I’m not a licorice fan so the floating island would have been more than satisfying for me or the chocolate tasting plate. What else was there other than the pink marshmallow?

  14. Well Charlie you surprised me when you said you pushed your glass towards the kind man offering wine. How unlike you! 😉 Shame about the steak but those chips look mighty good. I love that all the bread is freshly-baked. I guess that’s the only way to do it on a ship (unless it’s frozen?).

  15. I almost wouldn’t want to eat the food so I don’t destroy the art work!!

  16. This sounds like a great place to dine, Charlie, especially for a cruise ship. Too bad, though, that your steak was served cold. That would put me off the entire meal.

  17. Oh, I would be all over that cheese platter! Literally. I would lie down on it so that I didn’t have to share.

  18. I definitely think that $40 per head is very affordable for all the delicious and amazing dishes 🙂 That rib eye looks absolutely SUCCULENT! And i love the look of the floating ISLAND!

    So happy to hear that you had an amazing trip! xox

  19. What a gorgeous restaurant and beautiful dishes! You ate in style. And I do think $40 is an amazing value. Will you be taking more of these special trips? 🙂

  20. Mmm a great looking meal!

  21. looking at your pictures makes me want to go on a cruise too …lol.
    i don’t know how to swim which is why i haven’t gone on one but after looking as all those food pictures, i think i need to get over my fear and just book a trip…hehhee.

  22. Who knew food on a boat could be this good?!

  23. Oh that liquorice parfait is gorgeous! And this is coming from someone that doesn’t even like liquorice! 😛

  24. Penfolds is fine, but you should be drowning yourself in wines from Two Hands….I know I would!! 🙂

  25. I love Penfold’s 389. 407’s not bad and grange is pretty good too. 🙂

    Looks like a spiffy place to eat.

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